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Limestone vs Sandstone paving

Marshalls Plc Marshalls Plc Thursday 27th September, 2018

When it comes to stone paving, limestone and sandstone are the two most popular options on the market. They’re almost always the options compared by anyone thinking about starting a new driveway, garden or patio project, but it can be difficult to decide which would be the better choice.

So what are the differences between limestone and sandstone paving? We’ve put them head-to-head in a bid to help you decide which one is most suitable for your latest project. Looking at four key areas – durability, style, texture and versatility – we’ll be analysing their strengths and weaknesses to see which paving material comes out on top. Plus, we’ve created a helpful comparison table which compares them side-by-side so you can pick the best option for your garden.


Both limestone and sandstone score well in this category. Weather conditions in the UK are notoriously diverse, so any stone paving must endure all weathers. Luckily, both limestone and sandstone generally tend to absorb minimal amounts of water, meaning they are ideal for all outdoor spaces, especially if you reside in an area of the country prone to rain.

One minor difference between the two stones is that lighter shades of sandstone are slightly more porous than darker colours. Because these lighter variations take in a little more water, they may require extra cleaning or sealant application, although the difference is minimal.

Both can withstand tough weathering, and all our limestone and sandstone paving is guaranteed for 12 months, so in the unlikely event of any problems, you’re covered.

Winner: Limestone

An incredibly tight round, but limestone edges to the front. As lighter-coloured sandstone absorbs slightly more water, you may notice a subtle difference. But it’s unlikely to impact the stone too much, and if aesthetics are what you’re after, sandstone is a great choice too.


Limestone is consistent in colour and comes in some select colour choices, usually buff-grey, blue-grey and blue-black. Options like the striking premium grade paving Fairstone Limestone Aluri Riven come in these darker colours with natural veining, giving you some excellent choices, whatever garden design you have planned.

Sandstone also offers a huge selection of colours and styles. At Marshalls, we offer ten sandstone options, from the subtle blends of Fairstone Sawn Versuro Sandstone(available in four colours including Caramel Cream and Antique Silver) to the tessellated Riven Harena Kaleidoscope, a mosaic-style paving with an array of laying patterns.

When choosing limestone, sandstone or any other natural stone paving, it’s advisable to check beforehand what the stones’ appearance will be once wet. Often overlooked, it’s an important question to ask, as rain and wear can alter the colour of stone paving.

Winner: Sandstone

In the style department, the extensive palette and range of sandstone styles outscores limestone for choice with its sheer variety.


When it comes to texture, limestone and sandstone are quite different. Limestone tends to be flatter and smoother, with less ridges in its finish. Consequently, this even finish means it’s ideal for driveways and also many indoor purposes too. Limestone’s natural characteristics give it an orange-peel texture, and some options boast a natural split surface texture too.

Sandstone on the other hand is slightly more uneven, with a rippled texture. With a sawn finish, it’s a more contemporary option compared to limestone. Sandblasted options like the fine grained Fairstone Sawn Versuro Linear paving give a grittier feel for added slip resistance.

Each type of stone can be adapted to suit the design you’re going for. The lightly brushed Fairstone Flamed Narias Paving is a sleeker, more modern option, and its textured surface adds to the vibrancy of its colour.

Winner: Sandstone

Sandstone gets the upper hand, with a wealth of textural choices available. Whatever style you’re after, from sleek and modern to a rougher Mediterranean look, sandstone is a fantastic option.


Both limestone and sandstone can be easily cut into various sizes and shapes and adapted to fit in with any style or garden project, making this a difficult category to score.

When it comes to versatility of use, sandstone and limestone are both great choices – their strength, durability and range of finishes and colours mean they can adapt to almost any style of garden.

Sandstone makes fantastic patio and garden path paving for any property type, contemporary or traditional.

Limestone on the other hand is suitable for a whole host of areas, both internally and externally. Driveways, gardens, patios, pathways, stepping stones and interior flooring, the list could go on.

Winner: It’s a tie

It’s too close to call in this final round, with both being versatile in their own unique ways. Sandstone has an unrivalled range of colours and finishes. Whereas limestone is equally unmatched with its exterior and interior applications.


In the battle of limestone vs sandstone paving, sandstone has managed to pave its way to success. With the huge selection of colours, finishes, products and textures on offer, we feel it’s a worthy champion.

However, an honourable mention must go to the durable limestone, which should definitely be considered by those looking for hard-wearing paving in their garden.

Whichever paving choice you make depends on your own preferences, property type, project and desired finish. To help you make an informed decision, check out our comparison table below, which matches the different characteristics of limestone and sandstone.

Why not discover more about our extensive limestone and sandstone paving ranges? We stock a huge selection of both options along with a whole host of garden paving products, suitable for any property type and project.

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